Saturday, March 14, 2015

Where in the World Is Vladimir Putin? 1.28 PDT Saturday Update, monday with camera crew

 Newly mobilized Ukrainian paratroopers fire machine gun during military drill near Zhytomyr

Monday morning 16 mar 15  -  He finally located that camera crew. Now did anything actually happen?

1.28 PDT Saturday Update

 It is now obvious that something is afoot.  Dismissing this rumor furor is as difficult as Vlad showing up with camera crew in tow as he is wont to do often.  It has not happened as of Saturday in Moscow.

It is also plausible for him to suddenly die from a heart seizure as he is 62 and an aggressive over trainer.  The usual excuse for sudden death is an enlarged heart.  So there is an obvious biological pathway to sudden death for him.  A top BC wrestler died at 52 last year while preparing for a match.  Yet I do think that he was likely more circumspect.

That leaves us with a conspiracy to remove him and assert control by factions in the military and the secret service who see the war in the Ukraine as their opportunity.  I am disquieted that at least one former insider is saying as much and he would know who to phone.

With those two obvious possibilities to explain his silence, it is no wonder that the rumor mill is in high gear.  And yes we all need to be concerned.  Putin is a Russian Nationalist but he is also cautious.  He understands also that there are likely better ways to advance Russia's interests rather than military adventurism.  Top that extent we can trust him.

Where in the World Is Vladimir Putin?

3/13/2015 10:50AM     

The Kremlin has been working to bat down mounting speculation over the health of Russian President Vladimir Putin after an unusual absence from the public eye. Photo: AP.

.. speculation has been mounting over the help of Russian President livelier couldn't after an unusual absence from the public eye ... the sixty two year old Russian leaders last public appearance in front of journalists was a much and ... when he hosted Italian Minister Mikhail Renzi ... his long absences rare ... he said if he gets full and makes you feel the appearances at events broadcasting religiously of Russian state television ... the Kremlin has denied suggestions that Mr Putin's ailments spokesman said the Russian leader still has a handshake that could break a hand and has been working exhaustively with documents ... were used at the no reason for in and out no student ... though ... snow is ... is rooted for ... Americans is okay with him and he is ... working in accordance with his traditional it more overloaded with skin ... speculation was sparked on Wednesday the Kremlin announcement that ... he would postpone a trip to Pakistan ... by Friday the hashtag Ware is to do was trending on social media ... the Kremlin said on Friday that the Russian president Matt Russia's top judge and published three official photos ... Russian state television also aired footage of the meeting in which Mr prudent looks healthy ... the event was not open to the press ... the Kremlin also said the president will travel to St Petersburg for a summit on Monday ... previous clamor around Mr Putin's help Emirates in two thousand and twelve ... some journalists said they saw him wheezing and television President Alexander Shenfeld told the press that the Russian president had a wrestling injury ... at the time the Kremlin spokesman Nick Sherry eighty any minor pain to the president's robust fitness routine ...

Germany finally seeing Vladimir Putin for who he really is

By Lucian Kim

March 9, 2015

When Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Berlin on Thursday, he heaped praise on his hosts: “At no time in my experience has the relationship with Germany and the United States covered more issues around the world, covered them in a deeper fashion and in a more collaborative fashion than we’re doing today. It is truly extraordinary.” President Barack Obama is especially grateful for his partnership with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Blinken added.

Blinken’s effusiveness went beyond diplomatic protocol. Ready or not, Merkel has become the unlikely leader of the pro-Ukrainian cause. The war in Ukraine followed a long chain of unintended consequences, of which Germany’s new role may be the most surprising. Before Russia’s intervention in Ukraine a year ago, Obama was happy not to think about Europe at all. Russian President Vladimir Putin counted on commercial ties and World War II guilt to keep Germany neutralized. And Merkel placed an emphasis on “dialogue” with Russia and stability in Europe.

Russia’s unilateral redrawing of Ukraine’s borders has refocused minds in Germany. Putin’s annexation of Crimea, his lies that Russian troops were not involved, and his covert war in eastern Ukraine have eroded trust in the Kremlin. Germany’s political elite — unlike the isolationist, latently anti-American population at large —has no illusions that Putin’s actions are posing the greatest danger to European security since the Cold War.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who hails from the traditionally Russophile Social Democrats, is the starkest example of this evolution. Steinmeier, together with his French and Polish counterparts, tried to negotiate a settlement between Viktor Yanukovych, then Ukraine’s president, and anti-government protesters in February 2014. Later, Steinmeier spearheaded Merkel’s efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the spiraling conflict through the revival of the so-called Minsk agreement. In the process, he suffered the same Kremlin lies that Secretary of State John Kerry complained about last month.

Coincidentally, Steinmeier has just completed an internal review process to bring the Foreign Ministry up to speed with Germany’s increasing responsibility in the world. The biggest change is the creation of a crisis management department whose function will be to identify — and prevent — crises before they blow up. After decades of being denied a foreign policy that went beyond external trade and development aid, Germany is learning to think strategically again.

The 28-member European Union, however, hasn’t even started to consider its strategic purpose. After the collapse of the Soviet empire 25 years ago, trade was supposed to become the new basis for peace on the continent, and the EU took in one eastern European country after the next — until it reached the borders of Ukraine. “We need a strategy,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said at the Munich Security Conference last month. That realization has come a little late and shows how the EU stumbled into the conflict in Ukraine, trumpeting an association agreement while harboring no intention to offer the country membership anytime soon.

For Putin, on the other hand, Ukraine is of strategic significance, and he pounced on Crimea after his client Yanukovych fled Kiev. Although the Kremlin propaganda machine portrays the Maidan protest as a CIA-engineered putsch to oust Yanukovych, U.S. involvement in Ukraine could best be described as an example of Obama’s foreign policy of studied disinterest. After failing to “reset” relations with Russia in his first term, the last thing the U.S. president wanted was to give Putin an opportunity to reappear on his radar. From the point of view of the White House, Europe was done and dusted — and Putin an alpha dog best not woken.

During Blinken’s visit, Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to Washington and the head of the Munich Security Conference, said that he had missed greater American leadership in Europe over the past year: “If we always had the U.S. at the table when we’re talking to the Russians, things might be more balanced and slightly more successful.”

It was unclear whether Ischinger was being more critical of Merkel for barging forward alone or Obama for holding back. In any case, Merkel seized the initiative last month, jetting to Kiev, Moscow, and Minsk with French President François Hollande to save the original cease-fire accord signed in September. Demands in the U.S. Congress to arm Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in his fight with Russia’s proxies provided the impetus for Merkel’s helter-skelter diplomatic mission. Obama seemed relieved to leave the heavy lifting — and risk of failure — to the Germans.

Even though pro-Russian rebels captured the town of Debaltseve after the Minsk-2 agreement, Western leaders are choosing to ignore the violation in the hope that eastern Ukraine will finally calm down now. Merkel’s team is stressing “strategic patience” in Ukraine — after all, Germany had to wait 45 years to achieve its peaceful reunification in 1990. “Maybe it will last a generation to create the conditions that we can talk about a solution of the conflict,” Steinmeier said last week.

So far, the White House is playing along, postponing a planned military training mission in western Ukraine and leaving the issue of arms shipments up in the air. “We’ve worked to pursue diplomacy, which remains the only sustainable answer to the conflict in Ukraine,” Blinken said in Berlin.

“Anything we did in terms of military support for Ukraine is likely to be matched and then doubled and tripled and quadrupled by Russia,” he said. “Then you may well get into an escalatory cycle that is hard to control and hard to predict.”

The Kremlin’s strength lies in its ability to supply a theoretically unlimited amount of weapons, since Ukraine has lost control over hundreds of miles of border. The West should play to its own strengths, Blinken said, meaning economic sanctions that can be tightened or loosened depending on Putin’s behavior.

The biggest problem with Minsk-2 is that it’s a last resort. If there is a repeat of Debaltseve — for instance a springtime rebel assault on the port of Mariupol — there is no mechanism of enforcement, not to mention adequate monitoring by outside observers. Putin remains in a position to increase pressure on Ukraine as he sees fit.

The West wants to believe sanctions will make Putin crack first. Putin is betting the war will bring Poroshenko down faster. It’s a race to the bottom with no strategy in sight.

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